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Program Activity

Business Risk Management 2007-08
Environment 2007-08
Food Safety and Food Quality 2007-08
Innovation and Renewal 2007-08
Markets and International 2007-08 SO1
Markets and International 2007-08 SO3
Rural and Co-operatives Secretariats 2007-08

Program Activity: Business Risk Management 2007-08

Revised Expected Result(s) Original Expected Result(s) Performance Indicators Included in DPR template Justification
Enhanced producer capacity to manage risk

Increased sector viability and profitability

Producers better supported and able to manage business risks

Increased sector viability and profitability

Increased producer capacity to manage operations (cashflow) throughout the production year

Level of variability of farm income over time Yes N/A
Level of sector farm income over time Yes N/A
Level of farm capital investments over time Yes N/A
Programming that is more responsive and predictable Industry reaction to changes made to BRM programming No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
Additional Production Insurance plans and benefits in place   No  

Program Activity: Environment 2007-08

Revised Expected Result(s) Original Expected Result(s) Performance Indicators Included in DPR template Justification
Improved environmental sustainability of the industry by preserving the quality and availability of resources - air, water, soil, and biodiversity - for present and future generations Environmental components of new agreements on agricultural policy developed with provinces Environmental components included in implementation agreements signed with all provinces and territories Yes N/A
Enhanced environmental performance of the Canadian agricultural system

Enhanced understanding of Canadian bioresources and protection and conservation of their genetic diversity

Number of scientific publications (number of peer-reviewed articles in scientific and technical literature, etc.), cooperative research (number of signed agreements with industry partners, etc)., technology transfer activities (number of oral communications, posters, reports, press articles, etc.), innovations (number of licenses, royalties, copyrights, patents, etc.), recognition and influence (number of invited presentations, prizes, awards, etc.) Yes N/A
Increased access to authoritative data via the National Land and Water Information Service Completion of the National Land and Water Information Service project - Phase 2: Establish geospatial environment Yes N/A
Increased accuracy and currency of data Implementation of the National Land and Water Information Service project – Phase 3: National Source for Agri-Environmental Geospatial Information Yes N/A
Increased content and coverage of data Increased usage of the National Land and Water Information Service Yes N/A
Growers have greater access to new pest management technologies, thereby increasing their competitiveness domestically and abroad Number of minor use and reduced risk pesticide regulatory submissions made to Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency Yes N/A
Number of crop profiles, risk reduction strategies, research projects and new products, practices or technologies that can be utilized by growers Yes N/A
Creation of a governance structure for AAFC water-related activities Governance structure is operational Yes N/A
Establishment of an annual forum on water in agricultural landscapes Annual meeting of the forum on water in agricultural landscapes No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator; contribution of expected result to strategic outcome not clear
Staff and provinces will have a better understanding of AAFC's role in water AAFC staff using the strategic water plan as a work planning and policy-development tool No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator; contribution of expected result to strategic outcome not clear
More focused partnerships developed with provinces Feedback from the provinces No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
AAFC better positioned to contribute to the federal water strategy discussions IWRM partnership developed with Manitoba and Environment Canada as a pilot Yes N/A
AAFC becomes significant contributor in federal water policy discussions Yes N/A
Increased uptake of Environmental Farm Plans

Increased adoption of on-farm beneficial management practices by agricultural producers in the management of land, water, air, and biodiversity

Number of reviewed (i.e. completed) Environmental Farm Plans and/or Equivalent Agri-Environment Plans Yes N/A

Program Activity: Food Safety and Food Quality 2007-08

Revised Expected Result(s) Original Expected Result(s) Performance Indicators Included in DPR template Justification
Minimized risk and impact of food borne hazards on human health

Increased consumer confidence and improved ability of the sector to meet or exceed market requirements for food products

Increased value-added opportunities through the adoption of food safety, food quality and traceability systems

Farmed animals can be traced from birth throughout their life cycle Regulatory strategy for priority livestock species animal identification is complete and costs and benefits have been identified Yes N/A
Livestock movement strategies drafted for priority species Yes N/A
Number of successfully completed projects that demonstrate traceability Yes N/A
Number of RFID readers adopted by industry (higher number = more successful) Yes N/A
Completion of priority activities, including a well-documented business plan No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
Waste disposal infrastructure in place The number of successfully completed projects that enhance SRM disposal capacity Yes N/A
Development and adoption of industry-led and government-recognized on-farm food safety process control systems by all commodities in the primary production sector Number of systems developed in the various stages (phases) of SD component Yes N/A
Development and participation in food safety systems, developed by the industry and recognized by government, by other sectors of the agri-food continuum Number of organizations participating in OFI systems Yes N/A
Development and government recognition of food quality process control systems at minimum in the sectors required by market specification Progress of provinces in implementation of FSI initiatives Yes N/A

Program Activity: Innovation and Renewal 2007-08

Revised Expected Result(s) Original Expected Result(s) Performance Indicators Included in DPR template Justification
Industry equipped with new business and management skills, bioproducts, knowledge-based production systems and strategies to capture opportunities and manage change Funding support to organizations to develop sector-based, innovative, market-focused strategies that utilize science to transform commodities into new value-added or bio-product opportunities for processors, producers and rural communities, and new life sciences products for consumers

Increased opportunities for the agriculture and agri-food sector in existing and new markets

Funded sector-led projects to implement alternative value-added strategies for existing commodities and new products and markets Yes N/A
Improved collaboration along value chains to identify risks, opportunities and new markets Yes N/A
Funded support for the development and start-up costs for centres of innovation and/or incubators or business mentoring Yes N/A
Increased value for research investments through better alignment of research activities and resources with departmental, government and sector priorities

Increased research capacity to exploit Canada's natural advantage in biomass to develop new economic opportunities for agriculture in the areas of bioproducts and bioprocesses

Science and Innovation Strategy research implemented Yes N/A
Number of domestic and world agri-food research opportunities created Yes N/A
Increased contribution of bioproducts and value-added agricultural products by agriculture Yes N/A
Utilization of advances in value-added research that enable farmers, processors, rural communities, and service providers to differentiate their products and services Number of science and innovation clusters and networks established to bring together stakeholders to form complete innovation chains No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
Improved co-ordination of national research efforts and resources along the innovation chain in priority areas of focus for the agriculture and agri-food sector
Increased co-operation among federal and provincial departments and agencies, academic, institutions, industrial organizations, and not-for-profit science and research entities
Market-responsive research collaboration among national players to accelerate the transformation of knowledge from the bench to the marketplace
Number of research agreements between AAFC and industry Yes N/A
Sound, well-documented business plans and feasibility studies, with significant producer ownership, developed which support the creation and expansion of the biofuel production capacity Number of biofuels pilot projects funded with successful results and targets met Yes N/A
Increased awareness and benefits of Renewal programs by providing the income support necessary for farmers to take advantage of the opportunity to increase their business management capacity and skills learning

Canadian farmers increase their knowledge of business management practices

Canadian farmers increase the use of tools available through renewal programming and services in order to increase profitability

Enhanced and integrated approach to Innovation and Renewal Policy

Level and use of Renewal programs Yes N/A
Number of Options payment receipts compared to total eligible per year Yes N/A
Total value of payments issued per year Yes N/A
Percentage of Options payment recipients enrolled in Renewal programming Yes N/A
Percentage of Options payment recipients who have met their business and personal financial goals Yes N/A
ACAAF most effectively positioned to respond to new emerging issues while fostering innovative technologies

Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector positioned at the leading edge to seize new opportunities

Increased number of national, multi-regional (collective outcome), and regional Pillar I, II and III projects Yes N/A
Number of projects addressing current and emerging issues Yes N/A
Number of pre-commercialization activities Yes N/A
Number of policy dialogue events and market and trend studies Yes Expected results not clearly measurable via performance indicators
Increased farm equity investment in biofuels facilities Number of biofuels facilities Yes N/A
Agricultural producers more aware of consumer requirements for renewable fuel Value of producers' investment in biofuels facilities Yes N/A
Successful launch of the Agri-Opportunities program

Increased market opportunities for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector which benefit primary producers

Enhanced industry competitiveness and prosperity through new and value-added areas of opportunity

Number of new products, processes or services commercialized or being commercialized Yes N/A

Program Activity: Markets and International 2007-08 SO1

Revised Expected Result(s) Original Expected Result(s) Performance Indicators Included in DPR template Justification
Expanded international opportunities for the Canadian agriculture and food sector Canadian interests strategically advanced through participation in WTO Committee on Agriculture, WTO agriculture trade and accessions negotiations Analysis of World Trade Organization (WTO) notifications, submitting written questions to Members for clarification, responding to questions from countries and participation at WTO Committee on Agriculture Yes N/A
Canadian approaches fully informed through outreach activities with agriculture sector and provincial and territorial governments Records of meetings and teleconference calls with provinces, territories and industry stakeholders No Expected results not clearly measurable via performance indicator
Canadian interests strategically advanced through regional/bilateral trade negotiations

Canadian approaches fully informed through outreach activities with agriculture sector and provincial and territorial governments

Participation in bilateral WTO accession meetings to negotiate favourable market access conditions for Canada's agricultural export interests; analysis of documents prepared by the Secretariat, other WTO Members and acceding parties on multilateral issues Yes N/A
Canadian interests advanced through strategic participation in offensive trade cases

Canadian policies and programs adequately defended as required

Increased influence in the development and application of international rules, technical standards and policies governing the trade of agriculture

Gradual opening of international markets for cattle and livestock products

Number of initiatives where objectives were met towards prevention, minimization or resolution of international trade barriers and other irritants through trade advocacy, bilateral negotiations and/or dispute resolution Yes N/A
Canadian positions informed and influence international technical trade discussions to advance Canada's agri-food sector's interests; and development of domestic policies in line with Canada's (existing or evolving) international obligations Participation at international fora concerning multilateral technical trade issues No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
Industry responsiveness to consumer and buyer demands for product differentiation based on quality-related product attributes facilitated through development of quality standards and analysis- based recommendations made on food industry technical and regulatory issues Number of new or updated, consensus-based, whole value-chain agreements leading to national standards/guidelines, assurance programs, regulations, and/or audit/ enforcement provisions

Number of analytical reports, briefings, workshops and/or presentations completed for use in regulatory decision-making processes

No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
Industry responsiveness to consumer demands for specific attributes facilitated by the use of effective communication of data and analysis on new and emerging trends Number of new or updated data purchases, briefings, reports, media articles, meetings, workshops, and presentations completed for the department and industry No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
Industry responsiveness to market demands Number of industry initiatives aimed at marketing Canadian products based on healthy-quality attributes Yes N/A

Program Activity: Markets and International 2007-08 SO3

Revised Expected Result(s) Original Expected Result(s) Performance Indicators Included in DPR template Justification
Expanded international opportunities for the Canadian agriculture and food sector Increased exports of Canadian agriculture and food products Change in international market share of Canadian agriculture and food exports Yes N/A
Increased recognition of Canadian products and capabilities over the long term Number of communications and marketing tools developed to facilitate integration of branding strategy into stakeholder planning and activities Yes N/A
Number of projects completed to facilitate integration of branding strategy into stakeholder planning and activities Yes N/A
Number of outreach meetings held and usage agreements signed to facilitate integration of branding strategy into stakeholder planning and activities Yes N/A
Increased awareness of global market demands and opportunities, development and implementation of value chain strategies for each sector with established roundtables and industry engagement in the development of a Brand Canada strategy Industry Satisfaction with VCRT Meetings Yes N/A
Number of research projects completed in conjunction with Industry to support strategic development Yes N/A
Foreign markets engaged by focusing on highest potential Canadian agriculture & food products & investment prospects, in conjunction with government and industry partners, to build markets; and increase investment Partner satisfaction with investment promotion activities No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
Number of market development initiatives completed in priority markets No  
Market development activities aligned with strategic direction No  
Perception of Canada as a leader in the development of certain advanced food technologies and agri-related biotechnologies is enhanced Number of joint activities carried out to promote Canada as a leader in the development of advanced food technologies and agri-related biotechnologies No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator
International market access to ruminants and ruminant products enhanced Key markets identify Canada as a preferential North American supplier Yes N/A
Key markets (Korea/Taiwan) previously closed to Canada but open to the US become open Yes N/A
Expansion of range of products eligible for export (SRM free tallow to China, SRM free MBM to Indonesia, over thirty month beef, under thirty month and over thirty month bone-in beef, live cattle) Yes N/A
Canada’s relations with developing countries strengthened to enhance and support bilateral trade and policy relations with an emphasis on agriculture and food products Number of capacity building training modules on Food Safety, Business Risk management and Agri-Environmental Policy delivered in target countries No Expected result not clearly measurable via performance indicator

No measurable link between number of capacity building training modules and strengthened relations with developing countries

Market development strategy for AAFC engagement with commodities sectors Strategies in place for each commodity sector group in AAFC Yes N/A

Program Activity: Rural and Co-operatives Secretariats 2007-08

Revised Expected Result(s) Original Expected Result(s) Performance Indicators Included in DPR template Justification
Better co-ordination of government policy responses to rural community priorities

Government policies, programs and services increase opportunities, mitigate barriers and enhance capacity for co-operative development

Increased capacity of co-operatives to meet the needs of Canadians

Better co-ordination of government policy responses to community priorities

More informed decisions by governments and rural communities through evidence-based research and analysis and improved accessibility of information

Economic stability Yes  
Economic competitiveness Yes  
Social progress Yes  
Local institutional capacity Yes  
Government policies, programs and services increase opportunities, mitigate barriers and enhance capacity for co-operative development

Increased capacity of co-operatives to meet the needs of Canadians

Number of partnerships established and maintained with sectoral organizations, other federal departments and provinces Yes  
Change in available research pertinent to co-operatives and co-operative development Yes  
Use of or reference to research and tools Yes  
Number of co-operative initiatives supported by the CDI program Yes  

Expected Results Performance Indicators
Leads an integrated, government-wide approach, called the Canadian Rural Partnership, through which the government aims to co-ordinate its economic, social, environmental and cultural policies towards the goal of economic and social renewal of rural Canada.

Facilitating relations between cooperatives and federal departments and agencies with legislation or policies affecting cooperatives. As well, the Secretariat provides advice across government on policies affecting cooperatives, coordinates the implementation of such policies, and acts as a centre of expertise on cooperatives within the federal government.

Better co-ordination of government policy responses to community priorities

More informed decisions by governments and rural communities through evidence-based research and analysis and improved accessibility of information

Economic stability

Economic competitiveness

Social progress

Local institutional capacity
Government policies, programs and services increase opportunities, mitigate barriers and enhance capacity for co-operative development

Increased capacity of co-operatives to meet the needs of Canadians

Number of partnerships established and maintained with sectoral organizations, other federal departments and provinces

Change in available research pertinent to co-operatives and co-operative development

Use of or reference to research and tools

Number of co-operative initiatives supported by the CDI program

Program Activity - Business Risk Management

Results Achieved

AAFC achieved results against the following key commitments for 2007-08:

Continue to work with partners to replace Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization with distinct programs for agricultural income stabilization and disaster relief

AAFC's approach to ensuring the agriculture and agri-food sector is viable and profitable involves ensuring that producers have access to the tools they need to be successful. The Agreements reached by Governments in December 2007 to launch a new suite of BRM programs for the 2007 program year combined with an increase in aggregate farm income in 2007 supported by significant government payments to the sector during that year demonstrate Governments' commitment and success in contributing to increase the sector's viability and profitability.

The CAIS program has been the subject of much criticism since its inception in 2003. The extraordinary financial pressures put on CAIS by events such as markets closing due to BSE, avian influenza, and rapidly rising input costs gave rise to the primary complaints that the program does not provide timely assistance, nor does it provide a predictable level of assistance.

In light of these continued criticisms, and given the opportunity to establish a new policy framework with the expiration of the APF in March 2008, consultations with governments and industry stakeholders across Canada were held.

As a result, federal, provincial and territorial governments signed agreements in 2007-08 to launch a new suite of business risk management programs for the 2007 program year that replace CAIS and include separate income stabilization and disaster components. These new programs - AgriInvest, AgriStability, AgriRecovery, and AgriInsurance - provide more predictable, bankable and responsive support as part of Growing Forward, the new policy framework for Canada's agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products industry.

The federal government also committed an additional $1 billion to assist producers with the transition to the new programming, with the bulk of this payment delivered by March 31, 2008. This was comprised of $600 million to kickstart new AgriInvest accounts, which began going to producers in January 2008, and $400 million as a one-time payment to help producers address the challenge of rising input costs.

Develop and implement new products under Production Insurance for horticulture, forage and livestock

  • Production Insurance coverage was extended to an additional 45 fresh horticulture crops on a pilot basis in Ontario. Other provinces extended coverage to additional crops and some provinces continued to examine ways to extend coverage to forage. AAFC continued to work with provinces to develop livestock insurance plans, which will reduce the need for future requests for ad-hoc assistance from the livestock sector.

Deliver new Advance Payments Program resulting from amended Agricultural Marketing Programs Act

  • As a result of amendments made in 2006 to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act, the Advance Payments Program became available to livestock producers across Canada in 2007-08. These amendments also increased the maximum amount producers can now receive under the program from $250,000 to $400,000, and the interest-free portion from $50,000 to $100,000.
  • The Agricultural Marketing Programs Act was further amended in February 2008 to further improve access to the Advance Payments Program for livestock producers. The changes involved:
    • replacing the requirement of securing livestock advances with the proceeds of a business risk management program to securing them with the animal inventory; and
    • expanding the conditions for Emergency Advances to include situations of Severe Economic Hardship, where deemed reasonable by the Governor in Council upon the recommendation of the Ministers of Agriculture and Finance. Emergency advances due to severe economic hardship were authorized by an Order of the Governor in Council on February 29, 2008 to address the crisis facing the cattle and hog sectors.

Initiate enhancements to existing Farm Improvement and Marketing Co-operatives Loan Act (FIMCLA) to provide support to beginning farmers and intergenerational farm transfers

  • Based on national consultations in 2006, the department developed recommendations in 2007-08 on how the Farm Improvement and Marketing Co-operatives Loan Act could be adapted to better support beginning farmers, intergenerational farm transfers and agricultural co-operatives. It is anticipated these recommendations would necessitate legislative changes which could be initiated in the 2008-09 fiscal year. The recommendations will also include the development of an electronic delivery system to improve and simplify the administration of the FIMCLA program.

Program Activity - Food Safety and Food Quality

Results Achieved

AAFC achieved results against the following key commitments for 2007-08:

Accelerate development and implementation of comprehensive and integrated traceability systems across the Canadian meat and livestock industry

  • The federal-provincial-territorial Traceability Task Team and the Industry-Government Advisory Committee involving 20 national industry association representatives concluded that a national plan was needed to progress the development of the National Agriculture and Food Traceability System (NAFTS), beginning with livestock and poultry. The Integrated Traceability Division led processes with each of these groups, resulting in a national strategic management plan for NAFTS, agreed to by federal, provincial and territorial governments, and an industry-government road map for livestock and poultry traceability. The implementation of these plans will accelerate the development of a comprehensive and integrated traceability system.
  • Seventeen pilot projects were launched under the Canadian Integrated Traceability Program (CITP) in support of animal identification, the tracking of animal movements and the tracking of meat products through the food value chain. Communicating the results of these 17 projects by the recipients to interested public stakeholders was a key aspect of the CITP. These projects will help to refine the traceability system for various commodities.
  • The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) successfully completed and implemented a $3.7 million project called the Canadian Livestock Traceability System (CLTS) and has continued to be recognized, both domestically and internationally, as a multi-species leader in Animal Identification and Traceability. The CLTS incorporates three key pillars of traceability: Animal Identification, Premises Identification and Animal Movement, plus Value-added, and will continue to meet the ever-increasing domestic and international requirements for animal health, food safety and market access.
  • The Canadian Livestock Identification Agency (CLIA) provides the leadership to build consensus across the livestock and poultry sectors specific to industry and government needs associated with individual animal and group identification, and establish two distinct divisions: Technical Services, which builds on the investment and capability already established by the CCIA that can in turn provide traceability and value added services to other livestock/poultry sectors; and the Industry Forum, which facilitates and encourages all livestock/poultry sectors to meet and form policies specific to emerging traceability requirements (both private and public sector). Total funding for the CLIA project was $1.1 million; however, in light of the changes in mandate the amount contributed was $765,000.
  • Twelve associations are at various stages of traceability projects, including the Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Bison Association, Canadian Sheep Federation, Equine Canada, Canada Grain Council and Can-Trace, all of which completed a traceability data standard for the supply chain.
  • As of Dec. 31, 2007, more than 320 million transactions and over 63 million unique identification numbers had been allocated or sold to tag manufacturers across Canada, and the CCIA reported it had a tremendous positive response to the industry's animal identification and traceability initiative. Of the tag numbers allocated, more than 48 million had been issued, 47 million distributed, and 12.5 million retired. Of these numbers, 92 per cent were for beef, 45 per cent for dairy, four per cent for sheep, and one per cent for bison.

Continue to support industry's efforts to develop food safety, quality and traceability systems

  • The Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program (CFSQP) continued to assist industry in developing and implementing government-recognized Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)-based food safety process-control systems throughout the food chain. Under the program:
    • sixteen of the 19 eligible commodity organizations are at various stages of the four-phase approach for food safety, and five were completed by the end of APF;
    • thirteen of 28 post-farm organizations are at various stages of the four-phase approach for food safety;
    • all the participating provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and Quebec) in the Food Safety Initiative component are conducting Outreach activities and more than 250 provincial and municipal staff have received food safety training, and more than 780 food processors have attended workshops or received a one-on-one consultation; and
    • 740 non-federally registered processing plants in Ontario are being assisted to implement food safety and traceability systems, and 39 pilot projects are being carried out. In Manitoba, 40 processors are being assisted to implement food safety systems and 3 pilot projects are underway. In Alberta, 120 processors are being assisted to implement food safety systems and one pilot project was conducted.

Implement three key science priorities designed to improve the agriculture and agri-food sector's ability to respond to food safety and security issues, while creating opportunities for the sector through food innovation

The Food Safety and Quality Science program, through its three key science priorities, contributed to improving the agriculture and agri-food sector's ability to respond to food safety and security issues, while creating opportunities for the sector through food innovation. The three priorities are:

  • enhancing human health and wellness through food, nutrition and innovative products;
  • enhancing the quality of food and the safety of the food system; and
  • enhancing the security and protection of the food supply.

Enhancing human health and wellness through food, nutrition and innovative products

  • AAFC scientists have developed a new technology that improves the functionality (gelling properties) of isolates and concentrates from pulses while reducing phytic acid content and improving the nutritional value.
  • New techniques have been developed to protect bioactive molecules to ensure they are not destroyed, or altered, and remain active as they pass through the food processing continuum.
  • Improved methods were developed to estimate bioavailability of antioxidant components in fruits and vegetables. The method uses smaller sample sizes and is very rapid and therefore reduces costs of research. Data produced using this process allows for easier interpretation of results by nutrition and clinical researchers to determine how these components impact on human health.
  • Beta glucan is a component in oats that has potential of decreasing blood lipids (cholesterol) and impacting on blood glucose in diabetics. A protocol has been developed to be used by the food industry and nutrition labs to estimate the bioactivity of beta-glucans. The method is being considered as an international standard method.

Enhancing the quality of food and the safety of the food system

Allergic reactions appear to be on the rise in Canada. The impacts of AAFC research in this area include:

  • AAFC scientists identified the potential sources of allergen cross-contamination during food processing, in collaboration with Association Quebecoise d'Allergies Alimentaires, to ensure food processors can provide allergen free product to sensitive consumers.
  • Samples of allergenic materials were provided to European scientists to be used in a human double blind food allergy challenge study by Europrevall.
  • A study to better understand soybean allergy among North Americans (Canadians and Americans) was completed and 13 allergens (5 novel) were identified and the frequency among the population of patients with soybean allergy was determined. In addition, over 2,500 soy lines were screened for hypo-allergenic material and antibodies developed against one. Detailed characterization of allergenic proteins continues as soy allergens are considered as one of the 10 allergens most frequently affecting people.

Through partnerships with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada and provincial organizations, the food virology group has made breakthroughs in the methodology to detect and quantify food-borne pathogenic viruses in complex food matrices.

  • Jointly, AAFC, HC, CFIA, and PHAC initiated a 4 year integrated national project to provide potential solutions to recurring incidents of contamination of fresh horticultural products including the detection and control of verotoxigenic E.coli (VTEC; includes E.coli O157:H7 and similar strains). Research in this area will provide a better understanding in development of mitigation strategies in an effort to decrease foodborne illness from fresh produce.
  • Of special interest, research into the effect of beneficial bacteria - probiotics - on virulence of E. coli O157:H7 (bacteria responsible for "hamburger disease") produced results that indicate a role for probiotics in the treatment of E. coli O157:H7 infections.
  • An integrated study of the impact of pathogens and antibiotic use in beef and swine on the safety throughout the farm to food continuum progressed. Results will provide insight into potential of decreasing antibiotic use in animals therefore decreasing antibiotic resistance.

Research in food quality is closely linked to industry and AAFC research is having impacts on food industry. Progress made in 2007-08 included:

  • The development of HarvestWatch chlorophyll fluorescence-based system for controlling superficial scald in apples and maintaining optimal storage fruit quality. It is a chemical-free and environmentally friendly system.
  • The food industry is commercializing/producing an AAFC researcher's patented barley tortilla chip that has higher protein content and is a healthier product than corn chips.

Enhancing the security and protection of the food supply

  • A CRTI-DND project has been successful in securing funding for research that will address critical gaps in Canada's ability to deal with bioterrorism events directed at the food supply.
  • The Food Safety and Food Quality Science program was successful in building the necessary networks between government departments and with third parties, enabling dissemination of information, research and technologies in support of food safety and quality outcomes.
  • The Food Safety and Food Quality Science program is relatively small but very productive considering the size and the scope of the objectives. Working in collaboration with other departments over the past year, AAFC has contributed successfully to improving food safety from farm to fork. Moreover, it has also developed a portfolio of activities in the area of quality food for health benefits.

Work with provincial and territorial partners and with industry to develop the next generation of agriculture and agri-food policy

  • AAFC held multilateral and bilateral meetings with the provinces and territories, beginning with the development of policy for the next generation of agriculture and agri-food policy, and progressing to specific programming details for Growing Forward. Several rounds of consultations have also been held with industry. FSQ helped prepare AAFC's initial positions on food safety, biosecurity and traceability programming for these meetings and, based on the input received from both the provinces and industry, has continued to modify and refine the programming details. At the last round of industry consultations, industry expressed satisfaction with both the proposed food safety programming and the new biosecurity and traceability programming.

Program Activity - Markets and International

Results Achieved

AAFC achieved results against the following key commitments for 2007-08:

Work through agriculture negotiations and other WTO activities to promote and defend Canada's interests

  • AAFC provided analytical leadership within the WTO agriculture negotiations on a number of complex negotiating issues. Canada's AAFC delegation produced nearly the third of all the papers, notes, contributions and other "non-papers" circulated among WTO Members in these negotiations.
  • AAFC's negotiating team managed to achieve significant results in terms of advancing Canadian negotiating interests. Canada's contribution to analysis has played an instrumental role in realizing the progress made, not only from a Canadian perspective, but also from a global point of view. The current draft text for modalities for the agriculture negotiations (the blueprint for the negotiations) reflects, to a large extent, Canada's key priorities and ideas.
  • AAFC concluded WTO bilateral market access negotiations with Kazakhstan. Upon Kazakhstan's accession to the WTO this agreement will be incorporated into its schedule of commitments which will provide improved access to the market for Canadian agri-food exports.
  • AAFC officials participated in a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings in the context of the working party on Russia's accession to the WTO. During these meetings incremental progress was achieved on a number of issues of importance to AAFC including the alignment of Russia's domestic agriculture policies and import regime with WTO guidelines.

Manage bilateral and regional trade agreements and negotiations

  • Canada secured access for older cattle and beef from older animals in November 2007, and a delay in the implementation of USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services user fees. Early implementation of country-of-origin labeling was also avoided, despite pressure from some U.S. interests.
  • Securing access to the U.S. market in November, 2007 for cattle for any use including breeding stock born on or after March 1, 1999, and beef from animals of any age should restore the annual bilateral trade in live cattle and beef to its 2002 pre-BSE level of nearly $3 million. To date, in 2008 older cattle valued at more than $75 million have been exported to the United States.
  • Canada and the U.S. implemented a bilateral Technical Arrangement concerning trade in potatoes, with a view to facilitating trade and increasing certainty for stakeholders.
  • AAFC and the Government of Canada concluded the Canada Free Trade Agreement with the EFTA members (Switzerland, Iceland, Lietchenstein and Norway), representing immediate benefits for Canadian exporters, with over $5.2 million in annual duty savings for Canadian exports. Top products with duty savings include durum wheat and other wheat, corn, horse meat, potato chips and grape juice. In addition, the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement was concluded, representing an estimated duty savings of approximately $20.5 million annually for Canadian exporters. The top products with duty savings are durum wheat, other wheat, lentils and malt (grains). AAFC also initiated active negotiations with Colombia, Peru and Dominican Republic and also launched negotiations with CARICOM and Jordan, and continued negotiations with Korea and other partners.
  • In conjunction with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, AAFC processed 100 alcohol beverage GI applications for intellectual property protection from the European Union, which protects the intellectual property of Canadian products in international markets. The department also worked with the Canada Revenue Agency and Canada Border Services Agency to complete a Memorandum of Understanding for domestic implementation of the Spirit Drinks Trade Act, which required to protect foreign drink names belonging to the EU, U.S., Mexico, and Caribbean countries. The MOU is expected to be signed by all parties and come into force in the first half of 2008-09.
  • When a trade irritant emerged that threatened Canada's access to the Chinese market for Canadian peas and pork, AAFC advocacy efforts with Chinese officials resulted in China's re-evaluation of the applicable standard and other actions to mitigate the effect on trade. This is a critical success in light of the fact that China sources 90 per cent of all its pea imports from Canada.
  • Of all agricultural products that Canada exports to China, Canola seed represents the top commodity destined for China; exports were valued at $330 million in 2007. This commodity has much greater potential to expand in China but is constrained by Chinese tariffs for canola seed. In 2007-08, AAFC continued advocacy efforts to lower this tariff in order to expand Canadian access to this market.
  • AAFC's international trade advocacy efforts are driven by the needs of the Canadian agriculture industry. When the industry expressed interest in exporting fresh blueberries to Korea, the Government of Canada (through AAFC and the CFIA) made a request to the Korean government to conduct a pest risk assessment. Once this risk assessment is complete and an import protocol is agreed to, imports of fresh Canadian blueberries to Korea will be allowed.
  • In December 2007, Russian authorities placed import restrictions on Canadian meat products entering Russian territory, requiring verification by CFIA of hundreds of certificates. Russia is Canada's third largest market for pork products ($144 million in 2007). Following extensive technical work by the CFIA, as well as interdepartmental advocacy efforts, the import restrictions were rescinded in January 2008, averting a potentially large loss in Canadian pork exports. However, Russia imposed a temporary suspension on Canadian pork from April 1-June 1, 2008, causing economic losses to Canadian industry. This was resolved through development of a new pork export certificate with enhanced security features by the CFIA, and intervention by a task force comprised of officials of AAFC, the CFIA, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), and the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.
  • In October 2007, Australia announced it would be undertaking a safeguard investigation on the economic impact of imports of frozen pork on the Australian pork industry. Canada, Denmark and the United States are the major suppliers to Australia. As Canada is a major supplier to the Australian market (2007 frozen pork exports from Canada were $120.9 million), DFAIT and AAFC, in consultation with industry, defended Canada's position by making several submissions to Australia's Productivity Commission. As a result, the Government of Australia decided not to implement a safeguard measure.
  • As a result of efforts by AAFC officials, Egypt reopened its market to Canadian under-thirty-months (UTM) boneless beef and live cattle.
  • The first Canadian shipment of wheat to Greece was made in December 2007, after Canada successfully overcame some of the trade restrictive measures implemented by Greek authorities in 2004.
  • Although the European Union expanded significantly in 2004 from 15 to 25 member states, a corresponding increase in import quotas for various agricultural products did not follow. Thus, Canada began working with the EU to achieve improved levels of import quotas for various commodities. In 2007-08, Canada's efforts were rewarded with a country allocation of 4,624 tonnes for exporting pork to the EU.

Work bilaterally and multilaterally to influence the development of technical trade policies, measures and international standards

  • AAFC's continued role in the ongoing work of international standard setting bodies in 2007-08 resulted in, among other achievements:
    • the development of guidelines that will allow for the regionalization of responses to disease outbreaks such as avian influenza, a key mitigating factor in the response at the international level; and
    • the successful counter of a push by some members of the Codex Committee on Food Labelling to legitimize mandatory labelling of genetically modified organisms at the international level, which would have negative repercussions for some of the most innovative and leading-edge industries in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.
  • AAFC continued to participate in new and ongoing trade negotiations dealing with technical trade issues on trade related intellectual property rights (IPRs) and environmental measures.
  • The department's involvement in bilateral negotiations increased as six new free trade agreement (FTA) initiatives were launched (Peru, Colombia, Korea, Dominican Republic, CARICOM and Jordan) and the scope of issues covered was expanded to include technical trade issues. These issues were not traditionally included in FTA negotiations.
  • AAFC's ongoing participation and leadership in key multilateral and regional forums such as the United Nations Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety or the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation helps to ensure that market access for agriculture and agri-food products is not unnecessarily impeded due to regulatory or technical barriers to trade. In particular, this work focuses on addressing the development of international policy or agreements with direct linkages between regulatory, technical trade, and environmental policy that will directly or indirectly impact Canada's agriculture trade.
  • AAFC's intensified its dialogue with the provinces under the Agreement on Internal Trade compared to activity in 2006-07. Although negotiation of an Agricultural Chapter (Chapter 9) was not successfully completed, progress was made and as a result of the options developed and resolution is expected over the short term in the next fiscal year.

Engage in litigation when necessary, and increase Canada's trade advocacy efforts abroad through targeted initiatives

  • In 2007-08, the Government of Canada launched a WTO dispute settlement process against U.S. agricultural subsidies to influence the debate surrounding the drafting of a new U.S. Farm Bill.
  • Pursuant to the implementation of new or revised advocacy and engagement strategies in 2007-08, developed by AAFC in consultation with OGDs, provinces and key stakeholders, for key bilateral issues with the U.S.
  • On November 23, Canada filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in opposition to the U.S Rancher and Cattlemen's Legal Fund's request for the preliminary injunction against the November 19 opening of the U.S. border to older cattle and their products. Filing an amicus brief gives Canada control over the manner in which information about the Canadian system is presented. There is no risk that Canadian government officials could be compelled to provide additional evidence in the U.S. Court.

Work to ensure that the interpretation and implementation of existing international obligations do not unnecessarily restrict trade, and continue working toward re-opening and expanding markets for Canadian beef and cattle that were closed following the discovery of BSE in 2003

  • Continued efforts by AAFC and other government officials resulted in the re-opening of Taiwanese markets to Canadian under-30-month boneless beef, after four years of closure due to the BSE crisis.
  • The integrated team approach, which involved AAFC and other federal officials (CFIA, DFAIT, Embassy and agricultural specialists in Denver and Minnesota) working closely with provinces and Canadian industry to implement our engagement and advocacy plan, contributed to Canada securing access for older cattle and beef from older animals in November 2007.
  • This model served as the basis for expanded engagement of Mexico in 2007-08.

Review regulatory environment to enhance the competitiveness of Canadian agriculture

  • Amendments to the national organic standards and implementation of the Organic Products Regulations proceeded as planned in 2007-08, and will result in enhanced competitiveness of the Canadian organic sector through improved access to international markets, removal of costs of multiple accreditations from the certification system and a level playing field for Canadian producers in the domestic market. It will also protect Canadian consumers against fraudulent claims.
  • Regulatory, policy and technical issues can have a significant impact on innovation, investment and competitiveness in the food industry in Canada, making it important to identify, analyze and facilitate a broader understanding of these issues and promote their strategic resolution. The following are examples of progress that was made in this area in 2007-08:
    • AAFC represented on interdepartmental committee developing regulatory framework for health claims, and on Committee of Federal Regulators;
    • trans fat issue monitoring continued, with AAFC represented on a national Health Canada-led task force on reducing sodium in the food supply;
    • AAFC represented on Health Canada-led interdepartmental committee on revising the Dietary Reference Intakes, which are important to the food industry as standards for nutrition labelling, nutrient content claims and health claims;
    • advice provided to industry through the Value Chain Roundtables on the regulatory environment for health claims;
    • food industry advised on approaches to analyzing business impacts of regulatory issues;
    • analysis completed on business and economic value generated by health claims along the value chain;
    • food technology foresight paper commissioned and completed, and regulatory foresight workshop planned; and
    • work continued on a Growing Forward proposal to facilitate regulatory submissions for novel foods and health claims through industry awareness-building, science substantiation, and regulatory-process / capacity enhancement.

Continue to support industry associations in gaining recognition for the safety and quality of Canadian agriculture and food products

  • AAFC continued to work through the Canadian Agriculture and Food International (CAFI) program to provide funding for industry initiatives designed to increase international sales of Canadian agriculture and food products, by building upon Canada's reputation as a provider of high-quality, safe and innovative agriculture, agri-food, beverage, and seafood products. In 2007-08, the CAFI Program provided $19.1 million to 31 industry associations to support the execution of long-term international strategies and $6.2 million in support of 27 associations to undertake short-term projects. The following were achieved by industry with CAFI funds:
    • more than 5,000 head of cattle were shipped to Russia in 2007 - the first major shipments of purebred Canadian cattle to that country since the discovery of BSE in 2003. Two further shipments, amounting to 3,800 head, took place in the first half of 2008 and additional orders are under negotiation;
    • 10,447 breeding swine valuing $9.1 million were exported to Russia, making that country the largest off-shore market for Canadian breeding swine in 2007-08;
    • AAFC's Sectoral Food Industry Services Division, in conjunction with Legal Services, identified the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Act as a short term legislative alternative to resolve the blending rules and age and origin certification issues for exported spirits, and ensure there is no interruption in the export of spirits (primarily Canadian whisky).

National Wine Standard

Despite making requested improvements to the Winery Inspection Manual and committing to the industry to develop software to help facilitate the introduction of a National Wine Standard, efforts in conjunction with CFIA and the wine industry to complete national wine standards did not sufficiently progress in 2007-08. There is a difference of opinion on the content of these standards and on their value to the industry as a whole. AAFC and the sector are pursuing the development of a much simplified National Wine Standard over the course of the next several months.

Support industry initiatives aimed at marketing Canadian products based on healthy-quality attributes

  • AAFC was involved on a number of fronts in 2007-08 in the promotion of Canadian products based on health-quality attributes, which is viewed as an important area with growing domestic and international demand, including:
    • participated in Health Canada's consultation on nutritional health claims. The process is ongoing; a streamlined approvals process for health and nutrition claims (for a range of agricultural products) will benefit agriculture by presenting opportunities to promote products that provide specific health benefits;
    • together with Pulse Canada completed Phase I of the Pulse Innovation Project, supporting the marketing of pulses based on their health benefits. The project was so successful the Mexican government has launched a campaign promoting the consumption of beans based on their health benefits. It is anticipated this will increase the demand for beans in North America and put the Canadian bean industry in a favorable position to meet this growing demand;
    • through the CAFI program, AAFC supported an initiative designed to market Canadian wild blueberries based on their health attributes. The blueberry industry will need 50 to 60 million pounds of wild blueberries to fulfill the strong demand worldwide. Canadian processors are receiving excellent returns for their fruit, and this has put them in a stronger position to invest in the growth of the industry; and
    • through the CAFI program, supported the Canadian canola industry's efforts to promote canola oil as a healthy alternative low in trans-fat and saturated fats. It is anticipated foreign and domestic users will increase their purchases of Canadian product sufficiently to enable a 66 per cent increase in annual production between 2007 and 2015. In addition, the United States has granted a qualified health claim to canola oil, and this has formed a significant element of the industry's marketing campaign.

Program Activity -- Environment

Results Achieved

AAFC achieved results against the following key commitments for 2007-2008:

Develop and implement policy options to achieve environmental goals under the next generation of agriculture and agri-food policy, including a biofuels strategy

  • Growing Forward (the next generation of agriculture and agri-food policy), has undergone more than two years of assessment and extensive consultation with industry, with efforts undertaken to ensure long-term competitiveness, adaptability, and sustainability of the sector:
    • there is a suite of agri-environmental programs in development - federal policy priorities identified as water (quality and use) and climate change (impact, adaptation and mitigation of emissions as well as extreme event vulnerability);

    The implementation of Growing Forward in conjunction with the provinces will result in a more profitable and environmentally sustainable agriculture sector.

  • Ecological Goods and Services (EG&S):
    • AAFC continued to monitor the progress of eight EG&S pilot projects that are testing new agri-environmental approaches across Canada. Final results are expected in 2009.
    • A cost-benefit study of potential EG&S policy options (water quality trading, annual payments, auctions, and one-time payments) has been undertaken with results available in Spring 2008.

    EG&S will provide new information on potential policy options for Growing Forward and beyond.

  • Climate Change:
    • AAFC staff consulted with Environment Canada (EC) and agricultural groups to clarify options and create consensus on EC's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Regulatory Framework, including some parameters of the proposed GHG offset system.
    • Work was undertaken on Climate Change Impact Adaptation to ensure the sector anticipates and adapts to potential impacts of climate change by improving the understanding of the impacts on agriculture.
    • Work was undertaken on Climate Change Mitigation to ensure the sector understands agriculture's ability to mitigate GHG emissions with respect to development and adoption of related sustainable agriculture practices.

    AAFC's work on climate change in 2007-08 resulted in a contribution to the Government of Canada's commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and ensuring clean air, water, and land for Canadians.

Develop the knowledge to improve the environmental performance of the Canadian agricultural system, foster greater scientific collaboration among partners, and develop an enhanced understanding of the country's bioresources and their protection

  • Under the National Agri-Environmental Health Analysis and Reporting Program (NAHARP), AAFC continued its work with Environmental Health Science to determine the impacts of agricultural policies on the environment through the development and monitoring of agri-environmental indicators that determine how environmental conditions within agriculture are changing over time:
    • Agri-Environmental Indicators: 3rd indicator report in preparation (1981 to 2006 data), targeting a release in January - March 2009, will be the most comprehensive results of the indicator reports to date;
    • Two watershed-specific valuation pilots are in the early stages of data collection and analysis. The results will determine individual willingness-to-pay for environmental changes using non-market valuation techniques. These will feed into the broader valuation initiative to assess values for public goods and linking them to the NAHARP indicators.
  • AAFC's work on the Farm Environmental Management Survey in 2007-08 has led to the development and utilization of new information on the environmental performance of the agricultural sector.

    Results from 2006 are being utilized to help develop agri-environmental policies that will contribute to AAFC's commitment to further enable the sector to address environmental priorities while building profitability in the industry;

  • In 2007, the Community Pastures Program (CPP) managed 2.2 million acres of grazing land in western Canada, protecting it from future deterioration due to drought while utilizing the land for the breeding and grazing of livestock. The CPP is the largest steward of native prairie in the world:
    • The large tracts of contiguous native prairie managed by CPP have been protected from cultivation and the subsequent threat of degradation.
    • The community pastures conserved habitat for 20 listed species at risk, which are found in greater density on these pastures than on surrounding lands.
    • 3,200 farmers and ranchers grazed over 220,000 head of livestock, representing 5 per cent of the total beef cattle herd in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
  • AAFC's Environmental Health Science program contributed to improving environmental performance of agriculture in Canada in 2007-08:
    • In relation to the awarding of the Nobel prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), five AAFC scientists were recognized for their work on carbon sequestration and accounting, as well as for their contribution to quantifying greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from agriculture.
    • AAFC scientists developed methodologies to determine non-point sources of fecal pollution which can be a risk to human and animal health, and used to support development of strategies to mitigate the environmental loading of pathogens and other disease borne organisms in water.
    • The Germplasm Resources Information Network-Canada (GRIN-CA), created by AAFC's Plant Gene Resources of Canada program, makes germplasm information accessible to national and international clients, mainly scientists conducting crop and animal breeding programs, helping to mitigate the risks of invasive alien species, drought tolerance, climate change, and genetic vulnerability, and working to improve the understanding and conservation of natural biodiversity.
    • AAFC researchers used rapid diagnostics based on specimens in the AAFC fungal collections to quickly identify and determine the distribution of the Potato Wart disease in Prince-Edward Island, which was instrumental in facilitating the re-opening of the U.S. border in an expedited manner and recapturing an important export market for Canadian producers.
    • Research on the restoration of productivity on agricultural soils disturbed by industrial activity, such as abandoned oil and natural gas well sites, has resulted in recommendations for applications of beef cattle feedlot manure compost or alfalfa hay to maximize improvement of soil properties and crop yields.
    • Studies have demonstrated that, despite drought conditions, seeding pastures with native species mixtures, to replace the more common single species, helped to improve biodiversity, enabled cattle weight gains to extend later in the grazing season, and increased the storage of carbon in soils, which results in reduced GHG emissions.
    • AAFC scientists, using their extensive knowledge and collections on plant pests and disease, received an award from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) "For doing more than others expect, maintaining the highest standards and ensuring scientific excellence by participating in the diagnostic response for Sudden Oak Death (Phytopthora ramorum)."
    • A technique using DNA testing membranes developed by AAFC scientists has been commercialized as a product to detect fungi directly from the roots or hydroponic water systems of greenhouses, resulting in significant royalties received by AAFC.
    • Research results, showing that N2O and CO2 emissions from agricultural fields are influenced by both the current and previous crops, will lead to more accurate estimates and forecasts of GHGs.

Continue to implement the National Land and Water Information Service (NLWIS)

  • In 2007-08, the NLWIS project continued to improve the way the federal government uses and delivers consistent, timely, high quality agri-environmental information and knowledge to inform and support sustainable land-use management decision-making by producers and other land owners, as well as to support agri-environmental program delivery (e.g. Environmental Farm Planning).
    • Internally, NLWIS enabled a more effective way to do business by rationalizing expenditures in geomatics and establishing nationally consistent approaches with regional flexibility.
    • Externally, NLWIS enabled greater access to agri-environmental information over the Internet, including to farmers who are able to use the Internet and NLWIS to collect information for making decisions related to their farm business.
    • The NLWIS web site attraced more than 10,000 unique visitors per month, with more than 900,000 page views every month during the planting and growing season, and peaking at more than 1.5 million in May 2007.

NLWIS Audits

Internal and external audits and reviews have given the project the opportunity to realize its full investment by making improvements in the areas of: promoting a shared vision, clear outcomes and best practices for business requirements management; strengthened governance with well defined roles and responsibilities and supporting processes; and rigorous project management including calculating and reporting monthly earned value.

Enhance the availability of minor-use pesticides, risk-reduction products and beneficial management practices to improve the health of the environment while contributing to the competitive position of Canadian farmers

  • The Minor Use Pesticide program initiated 69 projects, made 45 regulatory submissions, and had 309 ongoing projects.
  • The Pest Management Centre continued to collaborate with the U.S. on joint projects with the goal of obtaining new registered uses of pesticides in both countries simultaneously.
  • Work continued to increase producer awareness of the benefits of reduced risk products and technologies, such as biopesticides and mechanical pest controls, has resulted in increased focus on these tools. Improved access to reduced risk pest management products and beneficial management practices contribute to sustainability of agriculture by lessening the potential for development of resistance to pesticides in pest populations and the reliance on chemical pest control products. Together, these contribute to a reduction in risk to the environment from the use of pesticides in agriculture.
  • Priorities for pesticide risk reduction strategies were determined based on national data collected in 25 crop profiles and on input from stakeholders (industry, extension and research experts, other government departments and NGOs). An initial set of strategies has advanced to the point where interested growers are beginning to adopt new tools and approaches made available through the strategies. Completed projects have delivered new Beneficial Management Practices including forecasting and decisions support systems, cultural practices, and reduced-risk pest control products. In addition, collaboration with the private sector resulted in 10 new biopesticide submissions to PMRA. Together these activities have enhanced the tool box available to implement pesticide risk reduction strategies.
  • Through improved access to more pest management technologies, AAFC continued work to improve the environmental sustainability of the sector by reducing the potential for development of resistance to pesticides in pest populations, and by reducing the reliance of the industry on chemical pest control products. Together, these contributed to a reduction in risk to the environment from the use of pesticides in agriculture.

Develop an AAFC water strategy related to agricultural sustainability through the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration

  • Work continued in 2007-08 on a water strategy to help provide leadership in addressing emerging water supply and quality challenges for Canada's agriculture sector. AAFC's ongoing work on a water strategy will help the agricultural-sector remain sustainable and profitable in a changing climate and evolving global market, and by helping meet society's expectations of environmental stewardship, the agriculture sector can become better prepared to manage and conserve water resources.
  • Following the first Ag-Water Forum, an AAFC Water Steering Committee was established to direct development of a Strategic Water Framework and continue consultations with the agriculture sector. The Framework was finalized in the spring of 2007.
  • The AAFC Water Steering Committee provided departmental input into federal water policy discussions.

Continue to support Environmental Farm Plans and the development and adoption of on-farm beneficial management practices through financial and technical assistance

  • Since the inception of the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program, 56,700 producers (25 per cent of all producers) have developed a reviewed individual or group plan, which identifies specific actions to address risks to air, water, soil and biodiversity.
  • Participation in the EFP and National Farm Stewardship Program grew substantially, with more than 11,000 producers completing EFPs in 2007-08 and more than 25,000 new BMP projects supported, totaling more than $100 million in federal payments in 2007-08. This demonstrates a continued effort by Canada's producers to take advantage of the programs for technical and financial assistance to reduce their environmental risks with respects to air, soil, water and biodiversity resources.
  • Two components of Greencover Canada, Critical Areas and Shelterbelts, were integrated into the delivery of NFSP, providing additional technical and financial support to encourage beneficial management practices (BMPs) adoption.

Program Activity - Innovation and Renewal

Results Achieved

AAFC achieved results against the following key commitments for 2007-2008:

Enhance the innovative capacity of the sector through support for strategy development and better opportunities to capture the benefits of science and innovation

  • Advances in science and technology present opportunities for increased prosperity and security in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. The progress made in Sustainable Production Systems science contribute to stable farm incomes, support an expanded agriculture and agri-food sector in the lives of all Canadians and provide a secure and profitable climate for foreign investment and partnerships with Canadians.

    In 2007-08 AAFC's Sustainable Production Systems program made considerable progress towards increasing the adoption of innovative products and technologies that will equip industry with the bioproducts, knowledge-based production systems and strategies to capture opportunities and manage change:

    • Departmental scientists developed 10 licenses, 58 new crop variety registrations and 12 patents.
    • Cereal breeding programs continued to show a return of about a one per cent increase in yield per year for wheat. A one per cent improvement in wheat yield is worth $75 million to the sector.
    • Newer variety introductions are being adopted more quickly as demonstrated by the uptake of a new AAFC variety of Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS), the largest class of wheat grown across the prairies. Lillian, one of the newest CWRS varieties developed by AAFC, demonstrated a strong introduction in 2006, occupying three per cent of the prairie acreage. A four-fold increase in 2007 made Lillian the top ranking wheat variety grown on the prairies.
    • The orange wheat blossom midge resulted in a loss of $40 million for farmers in 2006. Four midge tolerant wheat varieties were registered in 2007, and are the first spring wheat varieties that have been developed with any defense to wheat midge. These varieties were developed at AAFC's Winnipeg and Swift Current research centres in collaboration with industry and with support from farmers through the Western Grains Research Foundation.
    • As members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists in Sustainable Production Systems and the Environmental Health team from AAFC Centres in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec were exceptionally recognized by the co-chairs of IPCC to share the honour of the organization as Nobel laureates, following the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 to former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore and the IPCC. The AAFC scientists contributed to the various IPCC climate change reports, which have had a direct effect on raising public awareness and for their contributions that provided the foundation for the current recognition of IPCC as an authoritative voice on the climate system, the impacts of climate change and the methods to avoid it.
  • Bioproducts are increasingly important in the global economy. They offer significant opportunities to position Canada at the leading edge of important developments that generate economic benefits. Opportunities from Bioresources research will help the agricultural industry transform itself into a reliable and versatile supplier of agricultural biomass, technologies and processes enabling the agriculture sector to take its place in the bioeconomy. The examples below provide evidence of AAFC's contribution.
    • Wheat is the largest crop in Canada with approximately 9 million hectares. Leaf rust, caused by Puccinia triticina, results in yield losses of five to 20 per cent annually and is the most common disease of wheat worldwide. AAFC has an outstanding reputation and history as a world leader in research on the genetic control of leaf rust with 30 of the 59 leaf rust resistance genes discovered by AAFC researchers.
    • AAFC researchers identified a key gene responsible for enabling legumes to host nitrogen fixing bacteria. Through this discovery AAFC researchers hope to develop a way to transfer nitrogen fixing ability to non-legume crops.
    • With respect to AAFC's Plum Pox Virus (PPV) work, the disease was suppressed in Niagara, and progress was made towards eradication in other areas of Ontario and Nova Scotia. Over the past three years, the ability to detect PPV improved with better and more intense surveys. Studies indicate that PPV is confined to fruit trees in Ontario and Nova Scotia as it was not found in native plants, in nurseries' Prunus ornamental species, nor outside these provinces. The affected industries have maintained production, and are establishing a certification program to prevent the spread of PPV and other viruses.
    • Scientists from Research Branch have worked with AAFC's Prairie Farm Rehabilitation and Environment Branch, the National Land and Water Information Service, the Canadian Forest Service, and other federal partners to develop an Internet-based tool to identify agricultural residue, forestry, and urban woody biomass available for conversion to energy and bioproducts. The tool, known as the Biomass Inventory Mapping and Analysis Tool, allows users to query the GIS database for production information by location against a backdrop of transportation and energy infrastructure, while applying sustainability criteria such as erosion protection, tillage system type, and nutrient balance. Further development is creating additional analytical functions, including economic and carbon costs of producing, harvesting and transporting biomass. By combining the materials suited for next generation technologies with seed quality information to target low-grade materials, appropriate investment will be encouraged to mitigate negative food versus fuel impacts.
  • The ACAAF program added to the innovative capacity of the sector by reducing the risks for innovators by facilitating the costly testing and piloting of new products, processes and technologies intended to lead to increased efficiency and profitability for the sector. The program assisted industry to test innovative Canadian products, processes and technologies and conduct pilot projects that address issues like safer, healthier, and more convenient foods, natural resource conservation, environmental protection, and animal health and welfare.

Implement AAFC's Science and Innovation Strategy

  • In 2007-08, AAFC continued to implement its Science and Innovation Strategy, refocusing its science efforts across seven national priorities outlined in the Strategy in an effort to build a competitive edge for the agriculture and agri-food sector and capture the significant growth opportunities that exist for non-food products in the bioeconomy. Specific results included:
    • new partnerships with universities and government organizations to better integrate capacity and improve impacts, including a partnership with the St-Boniface Research Hospital and the University of Manitoba in the area of food, nutrition, health and wellness, and a research facility for Nutrisciences and Health in partnership with the University of Prince Edward Island and the National Research Council;
    • expanded capacity in the form of additional researchers, facilities, equipment and financial resources applied to research in bioeconomy science through the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program, which provides funding to support the development of bioeconomy focussed research networks among government, academic and private sector research providers;
    • accelerated rate of adoption of innovation and the commercialization of products through the Broker and Agri-Innovation Programs. By having the entire value chain for commodities work collaboratively to identify a range of innovative and high-value products, new markets can be captured and better returns provided to growers, processors, distributors, etc. Twenty three multi-year projects have been approved, for a total investment of $22 million creating new value chain initiatives, such as Soy 2020 and Flax 2015; and
    • explored options to develop a national innovation co-ordination mechanism by engaging in discussion with stakeholders from industry, academia and governments. The result for participants would be a strategy to optimize returns to the players in the value chain and develop innovative products that would ensure long term market success.

Implement the newly established external peer-review process for the selection of departmental research projects and the allocation of resources

  • To ensure research at AAFC meets criteria of excellence and alignment with the Government of Canada's priorities, as well as the seven management goals defined in AAFC's Science and Innovation Strategy, the department has implemented a two-step evaluation of all research projects. This evaluation is designed to ensure the best possible investment of public funds, scientific excellence through competition of ideas, and the provision of international caliber science in the agriculture and agri-food sector. It also includes an internal management evaluation by branch executives that ensures AAFC's investment in science research is aligned to departmental and government-wide priorities.

    This evaluation process gives strategic focus to AAFC's research activities, and is the first of its kind to be put in place in government-led research.

    In 2007-08, 254 projects were reviewed. Of this, 233 projects were funded. Most projects have a long-term focus of three years or more. It will be important for AAFC to secure funding each year to ensure the completion of the approved projects in order to get the expected results. This risk will be mitigated through effective planning of resources and communication of priorities.

Implement the new Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program

  • The Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program (ABIP) was implemented in 2007-08.
  • Proposals for creating new networks in targeted scientific research areas were received and reviewed by a committee of external international experts. Networks that were recommended for funding by the committee were directed to submit reduced financial plans to meet a notional allocation of the funds expected to be available. Discussions are currently underway with respect to distribution of the ABIP funds to the various networks.

Implement the Biofuels Opportunities for Producers Initiative

  • Implementation of the $20-million Biofuels Opportunities for Producers Initiative was completed in 2007-08. The program concluded March 31, 2008. It was one of the initiatives established in response to the announcement by the Government of Canada to implement targets of five per cent renewable content in gasoline and two per cent in diesel and heating fuels.
  • BOPI was, in part, designed to meet the desire in the agricultural community to participate in the biofuels industry, as a way to have a positive effect on farm income, through both higher commodity prices and ownership in biofuel production facilities, by providing funding to support the development of business plans and/or feasibility studies. BOPI provided the industry and producers with funding to develop business plans and feasibility studies and, as a result, are or will receive the information they require to determine if they should or could proceed to the next step in developing a production facility. The objectives of the initiative were met as far as providing industry with the tools needed to make informed decisions. The demand for this type of assistance was met as it was highest during the initial first year and diminished through the second year.
  • Management and performance frameworks were in place to effectively deliver this initiative and to measure the performance under it. Delivered in partnership with the same Industry Councils that deliver ACAAF, the Industry Councils were required to follow the same reporting requirements as under ACAAF, including: Monthly Financial Reports, BOPI Annual Performance Reports (to provide information on the progress and impact of BOPI projects) and supply project information (based on the performance framework) to the ACAAF Extranet System.

Implement the Agri-Opportunities Program

  • The Agri-Opportunities Program was implemented in 2007-08, with the aim of accelerating the commericialisation of new innovative, value-added agricultural, agri-food and agri-based products, services and processes that are not currently commercially produced or available in Canada, and that are ready to be introduced into the marketplace. There was tremendous interest in the program and AAFC received proposals requesting approximately $800 million of funding. About $12.5 million in repayable contributions was committed to five projects, which allowed the projects to leverage another $15 million in private sector funding, and a further $21.25 million in other government contributions.
  • A comprehensive risk management strategy was implemented for the Agri-Opportunities Program, with risks identified and assessed, and mitigation measures selected and implemented, prior to the program launch. A risk re-assessment was also completed six months after implementation to verify the appropriateness of the existing mitigation measures and generate new measures.
  • Based on experiences during the first eight months of program delivery, the application process was modified so program staff could identify non-viable projects earlier in the assessment process. This has meant clients whose projects are ineligible are notified sooner, saving them time and reducing their administrative efforts, and has allowed program resources to be more focused on eligible projects as non-eligible projects are filtered out sooner in the process. AAFC continues to review its application and assessment processes and and procedures to reduce the time required to assess and approve projects that better meet industry needs for timely decisions.

Work strategically with the sector to identify and enhance skills and learning opportunities needed to succeed in the increasingly knowledge-intensive economy

The ACAAF delivery model is designed to have industry identify issues and decide the response required within the parameters of the program, both at a national and regional level. The delivery structure provides national and regional flexibility, enhanced accountability, continued cost effectiveness, encourage collaboration and the dissemination of ideas across regions, and the ability to capture value-added opportunities and to facilitate transfer of applied research and technology.

BOPI was introduced, implemented and delivered in a timely manner to the sector through the ACAAF Industry Councils. The Councils were well suited to administer and deliver BOPI as it is consistent with their mandate to position the sector at the leading edge to seize new opportunities. This resulted in rapid delivery of the program with minimal administrative costs.

Develop and implement a national innovation co-ordination mechanism

  • Work under this commitment was expected to result in improved co-ordination of national research efforts and resources along the innovation chain in priority areas of focus for the agriculture and agri-food sector, and to this end a working group with federal, provincial and territorial and industry stakeholders was established in 2007-08.
  • The working group further developed the concept and process for a national innovation co-ordination mechanism. A small pilot foresighting exercise was held to explore foresight processes and techniques in the context of research priorities for the sector. A substantive pilot innovation forum on biofibres was held to develop collaborative work plans for implementation in 2008-2009. As a result of the work on foresighting and innovation fora, further activities in this area are being proposed within the Growing Forward Policy Framework for agriculture and agri-food.

Develop and implement a new investment model for innovation

  • The development of a new investment model for innovation is one of the ongoing initiatives being discussed under the new Growing Forward policy framework.

Industry equipped with new business and management skills, bioproducts, knowledge-based production systems and strategies to capture opportunities and manage change

  • In 2007-08, AAFC worked to enhance the innovative capacity of the agriculture and agri-food sector through support for better opportunities to capture the benefits of science and innovation. Examples of the impact of AAFC's research include:
    • AAFC and Canadian Grain Commission scientists improved an assay procedure for identifying barley with low storage potential with respect to germination loss. Barley is normally rejected for malting, an important ingredient for brewing beer, once germination drops to less than 95 per cent. Some barley lots deteriorate rapidly in storage and may not be suitable for export. The new method reliably identifies such barley and is faster and much less expensive than the only existing method. This procedure is suitable for use in commercial applications as well as malt barley breeding research;
    • the Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg took the lead on an effort to characterize virulence and find new sources of resistance to a strain of wheat stem rust, first identified in Uganda in 1999, that poses a significant threat to world wheat production. The Global Rust Initiative, planned and administered by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, has adopted a strategic approach to combating this virulent new strain and AAFC scientists are playing a leading role;
    • largely through dietary adjustments in livestock rations developed by AAFC scientists, products with specific health enhancing characteristics (e.g. omega 3 eggs, milk products and meat) are available commercially and are being purchased by consumers; and
    • AAFC researchers, working with pharmacologists, found that the content and bioavailability of phenolics from over-mature sweet cherries was comparable to that of mature fruit. Since these compounds are known to have several positive effects on human health, over-mature fruit may be a valuable source of anthocyanins for nutraceutical products or natural food colouring.

Program Activity - Markets and International

Results Achieved

AAFC achieved results against the following key commitments for 2007-2008:

Continue to support Canada's agriculture, food and seafood industry associations in their efforts to gain and expand international recognition for Canadian agriculture and agri-food products

  • Canadian Pork International, the export promotion agency for the Canadian pork industry, used CAFI funding to undertake promotional campaigns in markets abroad. In Japan, retail promotions resulted in a 20 per cent increase in distribution of Canadian chilled pork, and a campaign in Singapore helped chilled pork exports increase 207 per cent from 2006. This accounted for 1.44 per cent of all agricultural exports to Singapore in 2007, compared to 0.92 per cent in 2006.
  • The total export value of mustard seed, sunflower seed, canary seed and buckwheat increased 80 per cent to reach $264 million in 2007, compared to $147 million in 2005.
  • Pulse Canada efforts to reduce the risks of market access barriers resulted in the transition to a tariff and quota-free environment, and access of beans to Mexico in January 2008.
  • The CAFI program supported incoming missions of international delegations interested in learning about the superior capabilities of the Canadian industry first-hand. The Canadian Swine Exporters Association considers incoming missions a significant building block in their quest for increasing sales and developing new markets. In 2007 over 18,860 breeding swine were exported to 20 countries.

Continue to support Canada's agriculture, food and seafood industry associations in their efforts to gain and expand international recognition for Canadian agriculture and agri-food products

  • Participation in the Canada Brand is continuing to grow and 2007-08 ended with 160 members from a wide cross section of the industry and provinces, as well as resulting in the first co-branding agreement with a Malaysian company. In addition, awareness and implementation of the brand at Canadian embassies and consulates abroad has solidified. This progress has ensured the brand is increasingly visible in all our key markets (U.S., Mexico, Japan, UK, Germany, and China) as well as many other major markets around the world, both in terms of market development activities and in press coverage of these events. This is a long-term effort and building extensive brand equity will require time, but the progress so far is promising.
  • In fall 2007, a survey was conducted with brand members to determine the effectiveness of the program and to drive improvements. The results indicated broad satisfaction with the program, but encouraged more extensive communications with members, and increased one-on-one training to improve the integration of the brand into member business plans.

    As a result, AAFC immediately increased the frequency of its Branding electronic newsletter to five-times-a-year from three, and scheduled one-on-one training sessions and group seminars on brand integration for the fall of 2008. Other improvements implemented as a result of survey recommendations included improving website naming conventions to make some tools easier to find and adding photos to the web site photo library for members.

Continue to promote Value Chain Roundtables and other collaborative mechanisms

  • In 2007-08, VCRTs actively engaged government departments and agencies at the roundtable and working group levels. This two-way communication on a range of regulatory, program and strategic investment subjects helped roundtable members better understand government positions and decision making processes, while communicating industry priorities directly.
  • In addition, provincial government representation on roundtables, as coordinated by the Federal-Provincial Market Development Council (FPMDC), helped ensure roundtable developments were communicated back to provincial government officials responsible for agricultural issues and promotion and marketing.

Develop an investment strategy for innovation

  • AAFC's Investment Secretariat evolved its Investment Strategy Framework to profit from new opportunities, meet tough economic challenges, and align itself with Advantage Canada's focus on global investment and innovation networks and DFAIT's new emphasis on an integrated model that combines trade, investment, innovation and branding efforts. A visioning and consultation process across AAFC and with other government departments and private sector stakeholders has led to a more focused, proactive and collaborative approach to investment at AAFC. The Secretariat has refocused on its role as pathfinder and advocate for companies positioned to innovate and invest in Canada's agri-food sector. There is an emphasis on integrating investment perspectives and priorities in policy, programs, research and marketing decisions, in addressing regulatory issues impacting business and in building strong linkages and partnerships with stakeholders (regions, provinces, OGDs, industry, etc.).

Program Activity - Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency

Results Achieved

AAFC achieved results against the following key commitments for 2007-2008:

Provide effective pari-mutuel supervision

The CPMA deploys officers to oversee and report on the operation of all pari-mutuel systems in Canada. Historically, this has placed the greatest emphasis on live horse-racing. However, Canadian horse racing fans have more recently been showing a growing interest for betting on foreign or 'simulcast' racing products.

Consequently, in 2007-08 the CPMA began an exploration into developing a comprehensive approach to fulfilling its supervisory responsibilities; one that provides greater oversight of simulcast and remote (ie, 'theatre') betting. It is expected that a transition in the CPMA's approach to pari-mutuel supervision will be necessary to maintain the level of oversight that Canadian horseplayers have grown to expect.

Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS)

Sustainable development integrates environmental, economic, and social considerations allowing today's needs to be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In the context of Canadian agriculture and agri-food production, sustainable development means producing, processing, and distributing agricultural products in a manner that supports or enhances the high quality of life we enjoy in Canada, both today and into the future.

The focus of AAFC's fourth Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS IV) Making Progress Together is to enhance the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development (SD) - economic, environmental, and social. Through various initiatives, AAFC strives to strengthen linkages between the three pillars to ensure a seamless approach to sustainable development. AAFC's ongoing efforts to integrate its work under the three pillars of SD will support truly sustainable agriculture in Canada - agriculture that attends to the needs of people, protects the environment and makes judicious use of its resources, and ensures the economic viability of farms and other components in the chain of food production, processing, and distribution.

SDS IV highlights the ongoing implementation of the Agricultural Policy Framework and examines progress towards sustainable agriculture in Canada. The SDS also helps to lay the groundwork for the next generation of agricultural policies and programs.

In preparation for the fourth round of SDSs, departments worked together to improve coordination and build coherence among the strategies through a set of common federal goals. These goals comprise three environmental quality goals - clean water, clean air, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. They also include three SD management goals - sustainable communities, sustainable development and use of natural resources and governance for SD. Departments are also taking a coordinated approach to greening government operations. AAFC indicated how the department contributes to these federal goals in SDS IV.

For more information about how AAFC is implementing SDS IV commitments, please refer to the online table.

Greening AAFC's Operations

In addition to promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development in the agriculture and agri-food sector, AAFC is committed to greening its own operations by reducing reliance on natural resources and by limiting potential damage to the environment caused by on-going activities.

The 2008 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development included a chapter on Greening Operations, which examined how departments used the guidance issued by the Office of Green Government Operations (OGGO) to develop SDS targets. In a case study of various departmental approaches, AAFC was chosen as the example of a department which followed the guidance and included all the suggested targets. In some target areas, AAFC has been collecting baseline data to enable future reports on progress. Overall, progress against the SDS IV commitments appears on track and achievable.

Several new initiatives undertaken in 2007-08 year at AAFC. A Green Information Technology (IT) working group was formed to further green the department's IT environment. The group has decided on an agenda of issues to investigate and resolve, starting with the implementation of a plan to change default settings of all printers which have duplex capability to two-sided copying. This will save a considerable amount of paper and contribute significantly to AAFC's SDS targets. The progress of this initiative will be reported on next year. Other energy saving and waste reduction initiatives have been implemented and more are being considered for 2008-09.

Reporting on AAFC's Greening Operations targets can be found online.